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Prime Minister salutes Team NZ win

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that the successful defence of the America's Cup by Team New Zealand was a superb victory which demonstrated New Zealand's ability to compete successfully against the best in the world.

"Sir Peter Blake, Russell Coutts and the whole team of Team New Zealand can take a bow. They have performed magnificently.

"New Zealand is the first country outside the United States to defend the America's Cup successfully. What is more remarkable is that Team New Zealand achieved this feat in the face of significant challenges from far larger nations like Italy, the USA, Japan, France, Switzerland, Spain and Australia.

"Winning the America's Cup requires more than just superb sailing skills and determination. It also requires excellence in yacht design and years of planning and organisation.

"This result demonstrates that New Zealand has the technology, innovation, and management skills to compete at the highest level.

"Auckland and New Zealand can now look forward to hosting another America's Cup regatta. The spin-offs in terms of economic impact and international coverage have already been immense.

"I would like to thank the Prada team, and all the syndicates who sailed in the challenger series. The remarkable spirit of goodwill in which the entire regatta has been conducted is a tribute to every team and was a key factor in the overwhelming success of the event," Helen Clark said.

Contact: The Prime Minister is in Australia until (NZ time) 8.00pm. Mark Watts is travelling with the PM. His tel is 0061-401-101-269. Or contact David Lewis on 025-409 492.

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